A tribute to a Rehoboth yoga teacher
I want to write to recognize and publicly thank a very special yoga master teacher. I have been attending a class of Gentle and Restorative Yoga at the Rehoboth YMCA for over three years. My teacher was Sherry Yost. Sherry is very well known in the community of yoga practitioners very young, old and very old. Some seniors have taken classes from her for 10 years, both at the YMCA and at private studios in Rehoboth Beach.
I am a 73-year-old retired nurse with over 42 years of nursing practice. I tried yoga at least four or five times. I never finished a single course and ended up hurting myself physically and often suffered more than a little embarrassment by my own inability to do the exercises or poses correctly. I left feeling bad about myself and in pain. Forget it.
Well, Sherry Yost has taught this old woman many things. If it hurts, don't do it. Relax.
Take a nice deep breath, hold it just a little longer, and let it go! Surrender to the quiet, to the gentle stretch, open your heart to acceptance and tolerance, and let the tightness go. What? Sherry demonstrated the generosity of her spirit in each class. She always showed up to teach and then thanked us for coming! She reminded us of the need to have in our hearts gratitude for the day, for being here in this place today. She asks us to be mindful of our surroundings, of our movements, of our muscles as we ask the muscles to contract and relax. To be mindful how our yoga breathing affects us. Less anxious, more relaxed, and yes, more peaceful. Eventually, as we practice our deep, slow breaths, our muscles and tendons are more relaxed. It works!
We are encouraged to have our own intentions for ourselves, being more accepting, being more patient, more generous. We need to think of what we are grateful for and practice gratitude throughout this day toward ourselves and others that we hold in our hearts. This unselfish young woman taught the science and art of gentle yoga to people much older than she is, and she does it with empathy and patience.
There have been many students of Sherry's who come to her class using walkers, canes, slings and braces. Women came to class in motorized wheelchairs and with oxygen. We all came because of Sherry. We came to be present with ourselves, and to be present with our new friends and to share this space together at this time.
She has been our hero, our yoga master and our friend. She knows us by name. She recognizes that some in the class are alone and encourages us to look out for one another. Sherry has visited the hospital when some members of the Gentle Yoga Group have been very ill. Sherry has taught hundreds of the older citizens in this community. By her actions she has taught us more than the intentional gentle moves and exercises. Sherry Yost has taught us what an open and generous heart can do.
I will miss her. We shall all miss her. Take care. Be safe always. To that bright warm light within you, may you shine on the old mountains of Georgia. Namaste.